Ingram Micro will start selling the Pentium III/600 .25 micron processor tomorrow at a price of $705.
Further confirmation that the chip is for sale has come from Japanese site Pricewatch, which is also reporting that this and the Celeron 500MHz part are available in multiple outlets.
The Celeron 500MHz is listed at 27,800 yen (around $230), while the Pentium III/600 lists at 96,800 yen (around $790), according to Pricewatch JP. These are, however, retail prices.
Intel has surprised everyone by making the 600MHz available at least a week earlier than everyone first thought.
OEM and large distributor prices are different. One correspondent has sent us evidence that the PIII/600 will be on sale tomorrow. Listed as part number BX80525U600512E, it will cost dealers $705 from the Ingram Micro site and orders have already been taken.
An Intel representative said last week that it was inevitable that some grey stock entered the market, as it supplied its authorised channels.
The retail prices show that Intel will fight hard to keep market share in both the entry level and power desktop markets.
The indications are that Intel, otherwise, is keeping to its pricing, as first published here in April. The real question is what it will do with its (almost dead) Pentium IIs and its Celeron line, which are already at rockbottom prices.
AMD's current pricing for the K7/600 is $699, for the K7/550 is $479 and for the K7/500 is $324, when bought in 1000s. Indications are that Intel will drop its PIII/550 and PIII/533 to undercut these prices and will price its PIII/500 very low.
The prices underline Intel's intent to push its desktop pricing model even harder to stave off any threat from the AMD Athlon K7. Those parts will only become available in any quantity from the beginning of August, and the Intel architects want to spoil the good benchmarks the K7 is displaying.
With the gladiatoral battle hotting up over the summer period, Intel introduced some of its 18 July pricecuts on its processors a month early. We believe that there will, however, be other price cuts on PIIs and PIIIs this month or next.
Unlike AMD, Intel has excellent volumes on all of its current Pentium III products and as the company moves towards the introduction of its Coppermine technology in November with a 666MHz part, it will further reduce prices on its former technology to match increased volume from AMD's fabs.
However, AMD has a secret weapon or two up its corporate sleeves. It is seeding Internet hardware sites everywhere with K7s and allowing the folk out there to benchmark them.
Another factor to give AMD some hope is that it will have considerable OEM support for its K7 and for its K6-III products. Dell is unlikely to declare for the K7, but most of the other top OEMs will, thankful, at last, that they have second source for high end processors. These OEMs will have first claim on available stocks as the Dresden process ramps.
Whether the technical argument will outweigh the marketing argument is the point in question. Economics of scale and good liquidity count in Intel's favour.
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